A change in the patterns of tropical storms is threatening the future of the Mekong River delta in Vietnam, indicating a similar risk to all of the world’s major river deltas.
Professor Dan Parsons and Dr Chris Hackney, of the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute, led the river surveys which underpinned the study, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and conducted by an international team of scientists.
The research, published in the Journal Nature, shows that fewer tropical storms have been hitting the Mekong catchment in recent years, resulting in much less mud and sand reaching the delta.
This threatens the delta’s sustainability in the medium and longer term due to the adverse impacts on flooding and reduced agricultural productivity.
The Mekong, the world’s third largest river delta, is home to 20 million people and a large agricultural area dominated by rice. As such, it is vital to the economy and food security of Vietnam and the region.
Deltas are landforms made from sediment washed into rivers and carried downstream. The sediment builds up where the river meets slow moving or still water, such as seas or lakes.